Jesse Lee Beeson Sr.

Published 8:58 pm Saturday, February 11, 2017

Funeral services for Jesse Lee Beeson Sr., of Brookhaven, are at 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, at Riverwood Family Funeral Services with burial in Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church.

Visitation will be Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, from 1 until 3 p.m. at the funeral home.

Beeson, 84, died Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, at Silver Cross Nursing Home. He was born April 27, 1932, to Dewey Beeson and Ruth Hunt Beeson.

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Jesse Beeson was a man among men. He was a retired field project manager for Kaiser Steel Corporation in Oakland, California. He lived in Elk Grove, California, about 100 miles from the job site but that didn’t faze Jesse. He’d get up very early, head out and drive to the job site and be ready for work at 6:30 a.m. He was always ready to get the job done.

He had a special way of working with people. He’d be the foreman leading a group of ironworkers known as “the raising gang.” That’s the team that takes the steel from the ground and puts the pieces in the air in their specific places in the building or the bridge. His raising gang would be the first team off the ground. The ironworkers doing the bolting and welding would follow. The team effort was always critical and his way of leading brought the team together.

Beeson erected many steel projects in northern California, Nevada, Australia, England, Canada, Jamaica, and New Zealand. He erected the bridge spanning the New Melones Reservoir near Sonora in California’s Gold Country. It was one of the highest reservoir bridges in the United States rising 450 feet above the Stanislaus River at the time.

Bridges were frequent projects for Beeson but he erected many other structures. Many buildings were among his projects. One of the most special is the Transamerica Pyramid Building, a San Francisco landmark. Every time one sees a panorama of San Francisco, the “Pyramid” standing nearly 900 feet in height, is prominent on the skyline. Not only was Beeson erecting steel there but he also led the team that placed all the precast concrete outer surface on the building. The Pyramid is truly a San Francisco landmark.

Another unique structure was an offshore drilling platform for Shell Oil. Its name is Platform “Eureka.” Built to stand in 850 feet of water, it was assembled on its side and skidded out onto a barge. If you can picture the Transamerica building built on its side and skidded out onto a barge, you can see the special character of that job. Platform Eureka was skidded out onto to a barge in Vallejo, California, towed through San Francisco Bay and delivered to Shell Oil off the coast of southern California.

These project descriptions only touch on the complexity of the work and they only begin to describe the man that Jesse was. His work ethic set the tone. He led by example and there was no challenge that couldn’t be met. He took great pride in his work.

Beeson also lived life to the fullest. He was a commercialized scuba diver and a private pilot. In his retirement years in Mississippi, he was often found flying his airplanes, riding his Harley Davidson, traveling cross-country in his tour bus or RV, two-stepping to old country favorites, salsa dancing and fishing. He continued to erect many structures even after retirement, including his dream vacation home in Diamondhead, complete with a taxi runway and the ability to store his planes in his own home. However, his most prized possession was the love of the family he built with his beloved, Iris, whom he met on Oct 9, 1985. Their sons, Jesse Lee and Jon Luc Beeson, born in the fall of Jesse’s life, were a testament to the promise of God’s perfect plan of redemption. He knew this and he cherished the opportunity given. 

He is preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, LeRoy Beeson and Thomas Gardner Beeson.

Survivors include the love of his life, Iris, and their two sons, Jesse Lee Beeson II and Jon Luc Beeson.; also, his treasured sons, Thomas Adam Beeson and David Aaron Beeson; daughters, Laura Lee Wardlaw and Lisa Lynn Deters; nine grandsons, Adam Beeson, Myles Beeson, Joshua Wardlaw, Jason Deters, Brian Deters, Daniel Deters, Anthony Beeson, Richard Beeson and Nicholas Beeson; a great-grandson, Tyler Beeson; a sister-in-law, Glenda Hux, whom he helped raise and loved like a daughter; sisters-in-law, Joyce Berry Varas, Kayra Johnson and Indra Heard; and mother-in-law, Amelia Guerra.

Beeson leaves this world with a legacy of fine, long-lasting structures for all to see but most importantly he leaves an everlasting influence of generosity and leadership impressed on those who knew him and loved him dearly.

In the words of his dear friend, Kevin Reidy, who assisted in compiling these memories of an amazing man, “Jesse…It was an honor to have known you and been your friend.”

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